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No one claims that choosing to eat at McDonald’s is a healthy option. We don’t go there for that. But even taking that into consideration, some of the ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets seem outright unnecessary, not to mention unhealthy, and potentially unsafe. If you’re curious about what actually goes into these processed, so-called chicken nuggets, read on. Be warned: it will not be what you want to hear.

Not That Much Chicken

The first ingredient listed for McNuggets is actually white boneless chicken. That means there is more chicken in a McNugget than anything other ingredients. While that may sound promising, the fact that there are 30 other listed ingredients means there may not be that much actual chicken in there after all. Plus, they have so little protein compared to what white chicken meat is supposed to have, another indication that there’s not much chicken in a McNugget.

Lots Of Fat

McDonald’s chicken McNuggets are more than half fat—57 percent to be exact. How can that be if white boneless chicken meat is so lean? It means there is more evidence that chicken isn’t such a prominent ingredient. Another ingredient, hydrogenated soybean oil, is likely the culprit, as it contains quite a lot of trans fats.

MSG Coming Right Up

Autolyzed Yeast Extract is used in the McNuggets’ seasoning. It contains monosodium glutamate (also known as MSG). MSG has been known to cause headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations in about 15 percent of Americans. Aside from that, MSG makes it seem like the McNuggets have more protein than they actually do, thus deceiving customers into thinking they are healthier than they are.

They Even Have Sugar

Dextrose, a sugar that usually comes from GMO corn, is listed as ingredient number seven on chicken McNuggets. That means there is a bit more sugar than most would expect from a piece of fried chicken, mostly because people likely assume there is no sugar at all. Dextrose is a cheap ingredient used to sweeten, add texture, and preserve a food item.

The Not-Necessarily-Safe Preservative TBHQ

Tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, is a preservative with a petroleum base which can be found in varnishes, pesticides, cosmetics, perfumes, and chicken McNuggets. It is added to keep the nuggets in their notorious shape. Science shows that TBHQ can cause DNA damage, not to mention a large variety of other detrimental side effects, when consumed. For this reason, the UK banned this ingredient from being used. Not the US though.